Walking together, talking together Naidoc 2020

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July. The week provides a focus and opportunity to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

On Thursday evening Verity, Shona and I attended one of the events of this year’s NAIDOC week at BREC in Bunbury. The primary focus was an opportunity to watch ‘The Final Quarter’ which details the painful and difficult time that Adam Goodes went through as he advocated for mutual respect and understanding between indigenous and other Australians. While it was, on the one hand, a confronting evening there was also hope. Following this, we were able to view Stan Grant’s powerful racism speech kindly provided by The Ethics Centre.

To empower positive discussion about issues raised in the films, a yarning circle followed which was facilitated by Yaka Dandjoo Chair, Karen Jetta

I was struck by the grace offered by the panel in the discussion. Sharon Cooke, Maxwell Jetta, a coach at South Bunbury Football Club and Lewis Jetta of AFL fame joined helped us explore a number of questions. AFL is one of many areas where progress is slowly being made to eradicate prejudice and racism.

In addition to this, I was delighted to meet with some of our Aboriginal Christian sisters and brothers and finally make a connection that I hope will grow.

I would encourage anyone to take the time to participate or attend NAIDOC events.

Shalom

Jamie

Belonging- Picnic together on the foreshore

After our second service on Sunday, some of us made our way down to the foreshore to picnic together. Verity organised a treasure hunt based on the joy of creation. Well done to the Hollis clan who won that. There were egg ( golf balls) and spoon races where we discovered just how competitive some of our mothers are! For me, it was an introduction to actually hand passing and kicking an AFL ball, with thanks to Eli and Brent for their assistance. Kicking was straightforward after my rugby background but hand passing and bouncing it was a new and unfamiliar skill.

As we celebrate the God of joy it was easy to be thankful for the time together on a beautiful sunny day. Maybe you can join us next time.

Testudo-working together in unity

Some of you may be aware of the remarkable development in warfare strategy and tactics by the Roman Army. One of the most successful applications in combat was working together tactically using shields and short, stabbing swords. The testudo formation aka tortoise was a defensive position that Roman infantry could move into to deal with missiles or charges. Working together each soldier offered protection not only for themselves but those around them. Moving from shield walls to testudo and back maintained their holding of ground.

Some of our children at our 10 am service enjoyed practising testudo ( see pic at top) as we continue to explore the armour of God. In Ephesians, we are encouraged to serve Jesus our King together in unity. It’s a corporate vocation. In terms of the spiritual battle, we do this primarily through prayer. While we cannot record what we have been doing at the 10 am due to its interactive nature you can pick up some insights from our teaching at the 8 am recorded and available under sermons or courses.

On Tuesday evening this week (Sep 1st), a number of local church leaders and members gathered at Eaton Baptist to share insights on responding to COVID. Ryan Quicke oversaw the event wonderfully and from my perspective, it was a blessing to be part of it. Along with our churches combined prayer, meetings with churches together, there is growing relationship among us in the area which is great. All of us are learning to stand our ground and press Jesus’ victory against our true enemy ( Ephesians 6: 12) learning to respond to our ever-changing circumstances with the unchanging good news we have to share. If you’re interested in learning more about Jesus please consider joining us on our next Online Alpha run through the Zoom platform. It begins at 5 pm on Sunday 18th October.

Men’s group a hands-on approach!

I’d like to thank our men’s group who helped make 20 shields on Wednesday 26th as part of our meeting. These shields are for our children this coming Sunday 30th, as we continue to explore the armour of God at the 10 am service. Verity and I have been working with our families to put together a gathering that can still engage with key truths but in a more accessible way. This has included literally making armour.

The shield of faith is taken up with the understanding that we place our faith in God’s faithfulness. He is our shield. Understanding how to create shield walls in prayer is part of the motivation for our combined churches prayer gatherings. If you haven’t done so please consider listening to our sermons on the Armour of God.

If you enjoy learning kinaesthetically come along to the 10 am service and learn one way of praying on the armour!

As David wrote’ The Lord is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. ‘ Psalm 18: 30

The Sword of the Spirit

On August 16th at 8 am we explored some of the thinking behind Paul’s bold statement that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. What is he on about? At our 10 am service we even made swords and inscribed Hebrews 4:12 on one side, exploring in a more hands-on way! You can find it in our sermons tab.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

As we learn to receive God’s word into our lives it cuts both ways. Wonderfully it reveals to us our broken damaged hearts and with the Spirit’s help we can turn away from this and receive the love and mercy of Jesus and the reassurance of our Father’s embrace. ( See Luke 15) We begin to discover who we really are intended to be .

However, we are also invited to a war in which we need to learn how to receive and use the word of God, directed by the Holy Spirit. From the very beginning, the battle has been about what God says. Recognising the lies we counter strike with the truth, first in our own thinking and then in our living and praying. We begin to enter into a life where we are ‘Living Free’. As part of this war, we have been encouraging gatherings of Christians from our immediate area to stand, as it were, in the shield wall in prayer.

On Sunday evening representatives from 7 churches joined with us along with a YWAM team from Perth to worship and pray together in unity. We were implementing this from Ephesians 6: 18-20.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Jesus claimed He was the Way the Truth and the Life. ( John 14:6) He also taught that the truth sets us free. John identifies Jesus as ‘the Word of God made flesh’ (John 1) and in one sense he was the Sword of the Spirit in the Father’s hand as he crushes Satan at the cross.

Here at St Nicholas, we are seeing this happening in our own lives. Other churches in our region are seeing the same thing. Have a look at our testimony tab. Look at our local baptist churches, Bunbury Vineyard, or Church of Christ. or Christ the Vine, church. We are praying for more people to encounter the glorious freedom that comes in knowing Jesus. We are praying for all the Christian churches in our area and in the South West of Australia and beyond.

As I write this today Google is in a battle in Australia about the sharing of stories and freedom of information. In the media establishing truth seems, at times, so elusive. However, if you want to explore the truth claims of Jesus please consider joining us on our next Alpha course running via Zoom from mid-October. It runs for 8 weeks and is designed for you to thoroughly explore the possibilities of a relationship with Jesus, a new life with God. You can decide if it is fake news once for all:) Register your interest via our contacts page. We look forward to welcoming you.

Combined Churches Prayer Meeting 16th August 2020

Over the past two years, we have been able to gather together in worship and intercessory prayer for all our churches, our leaders, our communities and region.

Join us this Sunday at 6pm here at St Nicholas.

This Sunday, August 16th at 6 pm we are hosting a gathering of leaders and members of local churches to St Nicholas who are combining with us in worship and prayer for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done in us, in our churches and in this region and beyond.

We will be using the Armour of God as our framework for the evening. The Armour of God in Ephesians 6 is itself framed in the context of prayer. Our shield wall is established not so much through physical proximity as uniting in prayer. And so, this evening we are following Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 6:18 to ‘pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests’. He goes on to say that whenever the opportunity presents, he will ‘fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel’ for which he is an ambassador in chains! May that also be true of us. We have such good news to share. Maybe see you there.

The Truth Sets Us Free

This Sunday is week 3 of our series on the Armour of God. We are thinking about the belt of truth with John bringing the teaching at 8 am. I am aware that people are listening in from other churches and you are most welcome. If you have missed previous weeks, our website recordings are available to you under the sermon tab.

As we have the children with us each week at our 10 am family service, we are presenting some of the same teachings in two quite different ways! Last week Verity had us putting on the helmet of salvation with the words,

“I belong to God – God keeps me safe

I am a child of God”

1 John 3: 1

The first challenge in our spiritual battle is on our identity and standing. Jesus experienced this in his time of testing in the desert before beginning his ministry. This morning we are considering the belt of truth which is the antithesis of all that the devil brings. From our gospel reading today Jesus describes him as,

‘the devil…..a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’

As I continue as a disciple of Jesus I am still growing in my understanding of His teaching and the truth that is in Him. As I do that I am knowing by experience greater freedom just as Jesus says in John 8: 32. One prayer for us all this week could be that we would be a church community that knows the truth in Christ and grows increasingly in His freedom as the beloved sons and daughters of God.

Shalom,

Jamie

Chaplaincy Catch Up

Greetings fellow St Nicholas-ians! Thank you so much my lovely church family and wonderful sister & brothers-in-Christ for your patience and understanding as I’ve journeyed through this process—the initial part, until my appointment at a school, waiting to be informed of what and when I could do things and let you know.

The role is so much bigger than I thought or anticipated, not only at the school but also with the connections to the YouthCARE District Council (of which our own Jan Capp is a rep) and with the church community, all of which has been made a little more challenging with the current pandemic. However, God is gracious in surrounding me with support in all areas and in reminding me that it is still early days. The need is big, but our God is bigger!

I love my role as a Chaplain at Parkfield Primary School on Tuesday and Thursdays. I am now fifteen weeks in and things are settling into a lovely routine. My key roles are; providing pastoral care for students and staff; supporting and building upon our existing Virtues and Wellness programs and providing a link between the school, the community and local support agencies. I have always had a heart and love for others and pastoral care. As many of you know chaplaincy too has always been a focus of mine, although  I thought it was to be a support person with prayer and fundraising or donations! The main message(s) of our training were: we are called and equipped—we are appointed and anointed; we are the most valuable resource, and be you. As most of you who know me would know the ‘be you’ part I can’t help but live out and the being called and equipped is the ‘wind in my sails’! I do know that I am called and equipped and know when I have my eyes set on God I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

YouthCARE’s theme this year is to ‘be Peacemakers’. This follows their previous themes of being a ‘light on the hill’ and ‘salt of the earth’ people. We have been celled to reflect the light of Christ by living out our lives with hope and, in our encounters with others, through our words, actions and deeds, to demonstrate peaceful confidence as we go about engaging with all in our school communities. I pray as I answer God’s call that I may be an encouraging peacemaker, an instrument of peace, looking at everyone through the eyes of Jesus and all in God’s strength and in, and for, His Glory and that everyone sees Him in me and my actions. I am so grateful for you all, for your amazingly insightful words for me, your encouragement of me and mostly for your love of me just as I am, and that is what I take with me. I would appreciate your prayers, especially on Tuesday and Thursday,  for me to ‘walk the talk’ and ‘practice what I preach’ through God’s strength and with His Holy Spirit breathing through me—especially on the ‘tricky’ days and with the ‘tricky’ parts.

Blessings to you all, Jo xox

Rick’s Testimony

I must admit, I entered the Alpha course with some apprehension considering that it would be done in the isolation of our own homes, online! Most courses I have been on or facilitated involve a heavy bias towards interaction and the fellowship of being together. These fears soon dissipated with the warmth of the people involved and the excellent way that Jamie and Verity ran the sessions.

There was a good mix of people in different stages of their journey with Christ. The course material is very well structured. The initial meeting focused on the solid foundation of belief. I found the presentation of the history and supporting evidence of the Bible and the session “Why did Jesus Die’ particularly compelling.

The narration from Nicky Gumball and his team is uplifting. This is followed by testimonies by some incredible people. They ranged from hardened criminals that had turned to Christ to personal prayer friends of the Pope! The common thread is the love of Jesus and you could see the gentleness and warmth these people exuded.

I highly recommend everyone to participate in an Alpha course, whether you have been involved with church for a number of years or just a few weeks. I am looking forward to my renewed journey with Christ. God Bless. ~ Rick

Christian Contemplative Prayer Workshop July 2020

Don Reid will host an online workshop about contemplative prayer on Zoom on Saturday 11 July at 9am. This will cover topics such as its history, and its inevitable distractions, and is intended to be cheerfully interactive. It is planned to last no more than 1 hour.

The event is free and open to anyone, but only 20 participants maximum.

The Zoom link will be sent to registrants by email closer to the date.

Registration and questions to Don on mobile 0417948141 or dongen@westnet.com.au